Not to sound sceptical, but just because a system has a runaway train effect in the beginning doesn't mean it'll continue at such a rate for it's entire lifespan. If you want to feel like the Wii will sell out for the next 3-4 years to get near PS2 numbers, feel free to, but I feel that MS and Sony are going to provide too much competition against the Wii to allow this to happen.
Well we just have two different opinions on the future of the Wii console, that's all. No harm and perfectly OK. I weigh on the optimistic. You weigh on the pessimistic. Only time can tell.
It's about momentum really. PS2 sold the numbers it did because it entrenched itself in market LONG before the competition even got a console on the market. You know what REALLY moves sales? When a system is owned by enough people and other people want to own the system to be able to play with that person. That builds momentum. Since consoles have machine specific media in order to play along with the people you have to buy the same machine. The race is always won in the early stages because of this fact. If a system gets enough of a base with the right games resulting in the right buzz it wins. The ONLY time we EVER saw a real contest in consoles is the 16-bit generation between Sega & Nintendo and only in certain markets at that. Every other time the contest was usually won before it was started.
Check this history lesson so I can explain PS2's success better.
Momentum. NES rescued the videogame business causing new competitors to expand the realm of gaming in the 1980s. Except for Europe/PAL regions (due to bitter Atari's interference) NES was the preeminent. When a system does well the next system gets automatic advantage. This is momentum. Since NES was champ, SNES had an edge going into next generation.
Sega put themselves in the regions Nintendo didn't with Master System carving out a nice audience but Sega CREATED momentum with an early start, higher level tech, marketing campaigns on the Genesis project. The Genesis had a 2 year lead on SNES in North America region. Genesis was competing against NES with a higher plane of tech. 3rd gen NES; 4th gen Genesis. Since it didn't have natural success it had to jumpstart a buzz hardway. It took awhile for it to catch on but higher power & the 'Sega does what Nintendon't' kind of marketing appealing against the family-friendly Nintendo image began to work. It was very impressive and a lot of people don't credit Sega for being able to formulate this plan.
BUT NES was STILL 3rd gen champ by far so its natural momentum went against Sega's brewed momentum resulting in the close 4th gen contest where a clear winner wasn't easily seen.
Sega got lots of a respect in the 4th gen, SNES was last of 4th gen consoles but still was able to compete due to natural momentum won in the 3rd.
However Sega destroyed their momentum with the 32X/Sega CD/Saturn business. The success of taking it to Nintendo went to their head and the janky upgrades & doubled price of Saturn along with the difficult programming parameters ruined Sega's new natural momentum.
SNES with Sega moving on 5th gen level ended up winning the 4th gen contest setting it up for natural momentum in the 5th.
Other competitors got early leads on 5th gen (Jaguar, 3DO, etc.) but they weren't able to secure a decent audience so early lead meant nothing.
Sony on the other hand fresh out of the partnership with Nintendo and the pockets to get the job done came on the scene with the NOW Sony Playstation. Since Sega was janky & Nintendo was still deep in the 4th generation a new alternative was available. Sony went right after Sega marketing wise & hit the weak spots in Sega's ship pulling away 3rd party developers more and more. Nintendo's old plan that saved the industry from the wildwest days of Atari & Co. was restrictive & 3rd party got tired of "Dad" telling them what to do and how to do it.
Nintendo lost with the N64 not because of poor product but because of attitude toward 3rd party. 3rd party stuck it to them with a political move aligning themselves with deeper pocketed Sony who had emerged as a new viable platform.
Nintendo had natural momentum from NES, SNES but it was lost due to abandonment of 3rd party. The exodus. They went over to Sony's world and built that company as a true threat to competition. It shook the ranks and mostly all lower competitors fell out of the biz narrowing the field back down to 3. Sony with a good early start (late 94 Japan; later 95 USA), good marketing, an alternative base for developers to build from won the 5th gen.
Nintendo lost their momentum by being heavy-handed with 3rd party.
Sega was getting skeletal by this point and short-circuited the Saturn project going for what would become the Dreamcast. Saturn had some success in Japan and the short-circuiting was seemingly another slap in the face like 32X & Sega CD. Who would want to invest in your products when you don't support them long enough for people to get used to them?
Though Dreamcast was an excellent system it had to overcome mass negative momentum from the past 2 generations. It came out the earliest starting the 6th gen & was gangbusters at first. It looked as if Sega would return to glory but Sony NOW with powerful natural momentum picked at Sega's weak spots scaring off potential customers announcing their PS2. Sega would spend the year 2000 in the shadow of Sony and because of weak business structure could not hang in the battle against such a monolith.
The PS2 was the 2nd 6th-gen system to the market and launched in March 2000 in Japan. Japan is important because that's the center of the game industry. All the developers mostly live there.
It's only competiton was 5th gen N64 & a weakened Sega with 6th gen Dreamcast. The field was all theirs!! By the time PS2 launched in NA later that year the contest was sealed. Japan didn't see 3 competitors until 2002!!! They were the only game in town ESPECIALLY after Sega folded.
Nintendo lost that built up momentum of the NES, SNES days and now was battling its own negative momentum. The Gamecube was too late to the market because PS2 had already locked it up. 3rd party goes where the money is and once a system becomes established you can't penetrate it. PS2 had all the franchises people liked to play except for an obvious few. So more people wanted to buy PS2 to play with their friends.
XBox filled in the 3rd system void when they came to market. They had deeper pockets than anybody and all the power. But they were new and late to market. Their marketing couldn't penetrate Sony's hold. All XBox was doing was making a name for themselves in the 6th gen. And toward the end of the 6th they built a slow momentum of buyer buzz which pulled potential supporters from the PS2 to their side.
7th Generation- the current
XBox 360 the 7th gen entry capitalized on this small momentum boost & is still trying to undo Sony's momentum. Nintendo though profitable & business smart was losing console ground & had to create new momentum. Sony had the momentum going into the 7th gen with PS3.
But once again like always the 3rd time around they did something to sabotage their natural momentum. Arrogance from being the saleschamp the last 2 gens went to their head and they became full of it. Nintendo was now seen as underdog and used this darkhorse strategy to build buzz for the Wii. XBox 360 was slowly gaining street cred and with its early lead and mirrorlike status in comparison to PS3 was able to further continuing eroding Sony's base. Don't forget the price differential.
E3 2006 was the first noticeable sign of the shift. Nintendo built a new momentum that overshadowed all competition & they are riding this crest to the finish line. XBox 360 now a solid legit competitor is still trying to make its full name in the business. They're still outsiders a little bit. They're still wet behind the ears a bit but they are improving. Sony is now playing catchup due to the many many mistakes they've made in 2005/2006.
Wii is installing a base faster than XBox 360 which has come out earlier. The faster the base is established the stronger the momentum will be built. XBox 360 is Nintendo's only console competition right now and when they surpass them the generation is definitively theirs.
And unlike 360 Wii's base doesn't include traditional audiences which allow for a further spread of the system to others. "I went to my grandson's birthday party and they were playing this baseball game swinging in the air. What did they call it? Wii? It looked like fun. I might just get me one of those!" It's not who comes out first necessarily but who builds that base first.
PS3 has put themselves in catchup mode, XBox 360 had the headstart. Gamecube & XBox came out too late, PS2 had the base established before same-level competition even set foot on the ground. THAT'S the difference.
Sony's PS1 & PS2 came out before most of the competition, weakened existing competition and established bases earlier. PS3 is last to market in the midst of strong competition.
The Wii doesn't have these "stone cold killers" that will offset any momentum. It has great titles, but so did the N64. You need major 3rd party support to win, and the Wii has a bit of 3rd party support, but its not the wholesale support the PS1 and PS2 had that propelled it into the uber-sellers they were.
Super Mario Galaxy ain't a stone cold killer? Super Smash Bros. Brawl ain't a stone cold killer? Metroid Prime 3 ain't a stone cold killer? Mario Kart Wii ain't a stone cold killer? Animal Crossing Wii ain't a stone cold killer? Bob Ross Painting ain't a stone cold killer?
Um, 3rd party support is gathered by powerful sales bases. You get the base established I don't care what the 3rd party said previously they will court the systems that bring them the most profit. The rebellion against Nintendo 11 years ago was a political thing and also they saw Sony as a new ground to establish money making ventures.
Wii has powerhouses and sure & steadys that bring a wider base to choose from. Even the so-called "non-games" like Wii Sports & Wii Play are a part of this package. Not to mention Wii's more friendlier developer costs. I really don't see how people can think that Wii can't get 3rd party. Nintendo had been reestablishing relations with "the kids" the past 11 years. Letting Capcom work on Zelda titles? Letting Namco work on Nintendo IPs? I mean come on! The grudge is over. "Dad" has mellowed out since "the kids" left home.
The 360 had 2 holiday periods, but has also had 14 months of non-holidays to go through to level the numbers out. The Wii has not. Again, 50% were holidays for the Wii vs. 25% for the 360. That has a major effect on sales numbers. As we go through the rest of the year, you will understand.
In USA XBox 360 has a strong following so do they have it in Australia. But I can't help but notice Nintendo creeping up on 'em fast despite the fact that XBox 360 launched in most places around the world mostly in 2005/early 2006.
(current as of 3-18-07)
XBox 360 has had two
holiday seasons which means a lot of those 5.83 Americas figures are the recipients of that according to your logic. If Wii has already pulled this off in one holiday season and a couple of "regular" months then they are making ground FAST. Look at "Others" They are HALF already!
Actually, in Japan the 360 is up by 146% currently in Japan (look at my avatar), and is up 116% versus the first 4 months of the 360s launch. The 360 is increasing in popularity, not decreasing. You might want to actually LOOK and CHART the numbers of the 360 before you say it's losing popularity. 116% in the US and 146% are FAR from losing popularity.
Never play the percentage game.
If a Dollar gained value of 146% it's still only worth $2.46.
Yeah it sounds big but percentages are misleading. Deal with the hard numbers. How many units are being sold and how steady do those numbers maintain from period to period.
Okay. If by your own admission earlier the Wii is selling 1m units a month, and it's supposed to surpass the 360 which is 4m units ahead, how is it supposed to do that? At 1m units a month, if the 360 didn't sell a system, it'd beat it only 1 month earlier in June!!! Do you honestly expect the 360 to sell nothing (or next to it) in the next 3.5 months!?
I didn't say XBox 360 won't sell. But it's rate is slow compared to the Wii. Very slow. It's March going on April & Wii's launched everywhere now. Holiday season is long over. Why is this Holiday season-like fervor still going on? What I'm telling you here is Wii is not slowing down anytime soon & each new big game and solid game will maintain this fever pitch which will carry it over the 360 this summer. 360 will sell and have boosts, sure, but Wii will sell more. MUCH more. And more consistently.
The fact that Microsoft prematurely announced a "SOLD 10 million" when that really was a Shipped 10 million (sold to stores = shipped) yet are still straining to get to that 10 million sold level means lots of XBox 360 are in stock in stores. Didn't they make this announcement in December last year? Wiis don't stay in stores long. Shipped DOES equal sold in Wii's case. Since Wii has this flowing liquid quality in the stores (moving rushing water) while 360 has this bread and molasses quality (gel syruping out with the solid bread on the plate) Wii will catch the 360 this summer.
Nintendo cautiously only said 6 million shipped by March but it looks like they've sold every last bit of the 6 million IN March. The sell-through rate is the only thing that matters. What's in customers' hands & homes. Nintendo will react to this by gradually increasing the production rate to get it into stores. That combined with keeping the system prominent in people's minds will maintain the fever pitch that WILL result in DS-like sales power.
DS & PSP came out at similar times and PSP at first seemed victorious due to PS2 momentum & hype but from GBA DS had the natural momentum and Nintendo added NEW momentum onto DS project to make sure Sony couldn't penetrate this field for long. Now PSP is doing "respectable" when it was supposed to be a destroyer. With PS3's fortunes getting dimmer PSP's hopes grow dimmer as well. They have not mastered the handheld to console game that Nintendo created. I don't think a sequel will do as well as they're hoping. Give 'em credit though. They were best contenders yet and have created an alternative that actually stuck this time. Not bad for first try out.
You forgot one more piece of the puzzle to account for Wii's powerhouse selling ability.
DS/Wii connectivity. The only problem with "connectivity" in the past were the wires. That won't be a problem this time around.
I call it the WiiDS Phenomenon.